How To Eliminate the Skunk Smell From Your Car Interior and Exterior

One of the most overwhelming odors comes from the spray of a skunk. The stench can linger for days, especially in a confined space like your car. Fortunately, there are smell neutralizers you can use, including specialized products and mixes you can make yourself.

How To Eliminate the Skunk Smell From Your Car Interior and Exterior

What Does Skunk Smell Like?

Once you have experienced the smell of a skunk, you will never forget it. A skunk’s spray is highly offensive, like a chemically enhanced smell of rotten eggs multiplied by a hundred. Some encounters will be so intense that you can almost taste the scent.

How Long Does Skunk Smell Last on a Car?

The foul-smelling odor of skunk can persist for a few days or weeks, depending on where it is emanating from. If you have run over a skunk, the smell might be coming from your vehicle’s undercarriage.

Those unlucky enough to have a direct spray from a skunk might have an even more pungent odor from their car’s exterior.

If your dog gets sprayed at the park, you’ll likely have no choice but to transport them home in your vehicle. Once the skunk smell permeates the interior, your work will be cut out for you.

Will Skunk Smell on Car Go Away?

Eventually, the smell will dissipate. You can air out your vehicle and lessen the stench, but any humidity will bring the putrid odor back with a vengeance.

It is best to invest the time and remove the source of the smell with a mixture of vinegar, water, and dishwashing liquid. That should be concentrated on the areas that were affected by the skunk’s spray.

How Do You Get Rid of the Skunk Smell From Your Car Exterior?

Before you start dealing with the odor, you’ll want to wash your car, but soap and water will only go so far. You have several options to eliminate the odor of skunk from the exterior of your vehicle.

Skunk Smell Neutralizers

You can purchase neutralizers specifically for the smell of skunks, such as Van Den Heuvels R86 Industrial Odor Eliminator or Nature’s Miracle Skunk Odor Remover.

These can be obtained via Amazon, but you can also brew your own mixtures to deal with pungent spray.

For best results, deal with skunk odor immediately by choosing from the following methods depending on your available supplies.

Method 1

  1. You can mix distilled vinegar and water in equal parts. Add several drops of dishwashing liquid.
  2. Liberally spray the exterior of your car. Pay special attention to the undercarriage and tires.
  3. Leave on for five minutes.
  4. Rinse the surface of the vehicle thoroughly.
  5. Repeat if necessary.

Method 2

  1. Mix 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide with ¼ cup of baking soda. Add one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid.
  2. You should thoroughly wash the car’s exterior as you would with soap.
  3. Rinse and repeat if necessary.

Method 3

If the odor still lingers after using one of those two methods, place a container of charcoal beneath your vehicle while parked. Activated charcoal has excellent absorption thanks to its surface being more porous.

How To Eliminate the Skunk Smell From Your Car Interior and Exterior

How To Get Skunk Smell Out of Car Interior?

A skunked car is practically undrivable, but, thankfully, the options available to you are similar to dealing with odors on a vehicle’s exterior.

Neutralizers To Use

You can use the same neutralizers mentioned for the car’s exterior. Doing a spot test before using any product on your vehicle’s interior is recommended.

To do so, dab some of the neutralizer on a small area to ensure it does not discolor your upholstery.

Method 1

  1. For cloth seats, use a mixture of vinegar and water. Lightly spray the interior of your car and let it sit.
  2. Use a towel or cloth and wipe up the water and vinegar.
  3. You may have to repeat this process.

Method 2

  1. For vinyl or leather seats, use a vinegar and linseed oil mixture.
  2. Rub the interior seats with a towel.

Method 3

  1. You can mix hydrogen peroxide, water, and baby shampoo.
  2. Wash down the entire interior of the vehicle with the mixture.

How To Get Skunk Smell Out of Car Vents?

When getting rid of skunk smell, it’s important not to overlook your car’s vents. Otherwise, no matter what you do, the odor is likely to linger.

Neutralizers To Use

You can use the same specialized products. Be sure to spray your vents liberally and wipe them clean. Alternatively, you can improvise your own odor eliminator.

Method 1

  1. You can add 1/2 cup of vinegar to two cups of water.
  2. Wipe down the inside of the vents with the mixture.
  3. Spray the vinegar solution inside the vents and leave.

Method 2

  1. Add one cup of dry mustard to a bucket of warm water.
  2. Mix until mustard is dissolved.
  3. Use a cloth to wipe down the vents with the mixture.

Will a Car Wash Help With Skunk Smell?

Unfortunately, a typical car wash will not help eliminate the smell of skunk. Instead, it is best to find the source of the odor and clean it immediately with a mixture containing either vinegar or hydrogen peroxide.

How Long Does It Take To Eliminate the Skunk Smell Out of Your Car?

The length of time it takes to remove the smell of skunk from your car will depend on how strong it was initially, and it will also hinge on the effectiveness of the method you choose.

Regardless of how you deal with skunk odor, it may be necessary to repeat the cleaning several times before eliminating the smell.

Placing a bowl of vinegar or activated charcoal in the affected area will also help absorb any lingering odors.

The rank smell of a skunk can overwhelm your senses, especially in a confined space like your car. Given that, it’s essential to deal with it immediately.

So, clean every surface that may have been affected by a skunk’s spray, either directly or indirectly, to rid yourself of one of the foulest things that can affect your car.

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Author: Dave Johnston

Dave Junior is a hands-on automotive technician with experience in performing service, diagnostics, and repairs on domestic and imported vehicles. He enjoys writing and sharing his knowledge far and wide.

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